Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Ten Reasons Why You Gotta Love an Egyptian Bureaucracy

Asalamu alaikum wa rahmat Allah wa barkatoo and HellOooo guys!

Can you believe that  1/5 of my blog's life has already passed away?
Yup! It went by so fast and I've already met a lot of really nice people. Thank you all for visiting me here :D

Well, in celebration of having reached this far and since we're talking about different cultures, I've got us a special guest's post today. It's Sarira # 2. Yes, I have a twin sister and I asked her to let me post one of her 'articles' she wrote in university that always cracks me up. So here goes:

 Reasons You Got To Love an Egyptian Bureaucracy 

1-      Egyptian bureaucracies go hand in hand with a diet: To help you lose weight, cubicles that would normally be located side-by-side in other countries are situated miles apart in Egypt. Of course, by the time that you have walked from one end to another and back again, which in an Egyptian bureaucracy you’re sure to do a couple of times, you will find your legs cramping, your arms aching, and your lungs gasping for air- all clear signs of a good workout. 

2-      They’re known for their “creativity”: Who besides employees at an Egyptian bureaucracy could still manage to spell your name wrong even after you have printed it, given them a passport copy, and pronounced it loud and clear for them? Their creative spelling can only make you chuckle. Then again, sometimes it can make you cry such as when you discover that the “silent n” they added to your last name has officially separated you from your family. (Not to worry, though. To officially become a member of your family again, you'll just have to make another stop at a different bureaucracy. [note from me- we really had such a problem because they did this to us. We spent weeks in the summer correcting their mistake])

3-      They like to keep it short and simple: Employees in an Egyptian bureaucracy never seem to want to communicate unless they’re on the phone, talking to one another, or talking to the person in front of you- that last person separating you from them. Of course, when you have a question about where to go next or where the bathroom is, you are merely given a few incomprehensible grunts and gestures. Should you decide to press them further, you will be showered with highly offensive insults. (These unique insults could also be seen as further evidence of their creativity)

4-      They help boost your confidence. After visiting an Egyptian bureaucracy, you cannot help but feel proud of your own interior design skills, even if you aren’t very artistic. Cold, dark, and completely impersonal, Egyptian bureaucracies make your own home look like it should be on a cover of a magazine. The bathrooms, in particular, may initially cause you trauma, but once you return to your own house, are sure to leave you feeling very proud of your own style.

5-      They give you a chance to re-connect with history. Where else besides an Egyptian bureaucracy could you find newspapers and magazines written twenty years ago? Sure, you could find them in the public library’s archive, but would it have the same coffee stains, doodles, and half-solved cross word puzzles? 

6-      They humble you. There is no place that can humble you like an Egyptian bureaucracy, not even a graveyard. Tombstones, at least, have names- not just numbers. All employees from an Egyptian bureaucracy, after all, are sure to look at you like as if you are a nasty little bug or worse yet, toe fungus.

7-       Visiting one is a great way to save a few bucks and enjoy a sauna. Egyptian bureaucracies have never heard of air conditioning and have been engineered in such a way that no air from the outside can enter. With hundreds of people elbowing you and pressing against you, you’re sure to work out a good sweat, much more than you could have done on your own in a sauna.

8-      They’re a great way to motivate your children/ siblings to work hard in life: When your children/ siblings see the way that “Mr. Bigshot” is treated, how the employees whisper his name reverently, how the line magically vanishes before him and even more wondrous, how the employees eagerly smile at him, almost kissing his hands, they are sure to want to work hard in life. This works particularly well if it just happens to be your turn when he enters as your children/ siblings will never forget being shoved out of the way for the royal carpet to be laid out. 

9-       They teach you the importance of teamwork: After hearing an employee tell you that you’re missing a particular stamp on one of your documents, and that the woman in charge of stamping it is absent (and nobody else can do it though the stamp is only one foot away from the other employees), you are sure to learn the value of working on a team and to learn to think twice about doing more than your share.    

10-  There is absolutely no better cure for low blood pressure. All the exercise, flashes of creativity, and communication difficulties (refer to 1,2, and 3) you will experience are guaranteed to get your heart pumping hard. If the veins in your forehead aren’t showing at the end of your visit and you haven’t begun hitting your head against a wall, then, you can count yourself one of the lucky ones.  




  1. I LOVED IT...amazing, (don't mean the bureaucratic LOL)..it can make us cry & laugh LOL...Thanks to Allah it is not that bad in the Gulf,they're trying to reduce it...
    thanks to u & ur twin,a beautiful post that I really enjoyed..:)

  2. Assalamu alaikum,

    Hahahahahah!!!!!! I wish you would just name it "Developing World Bureaucracy"

    Loved the creative spelling part, hahaha!!! Cuz even within my paternal side of family we all have 3 or 4 different English spelling of the same last name LOOOL!!!!

  3. The funny thing is ... this could be ANY bureaucracy in any nation! I mean ACK! Don't even get me started on the Department of Motor Vehicles - it makes Egyptian Bureaucracy look like kindergarten!

    Seriously, this is a awesomely funny and enlightening post. I glanced back through your blog, and thoroughly enjoyed it!

    Thanks for your visit to my blog, and your wonderful comment. I hope you are having a great day - a great week!

  4. Sarira: I read this post and the one before it today. Very good! I enjoyed the funny description of the Egyptian bureaucracy - sort of like Canada, but I think our bathrooms might be better :)
    So you went to an international school. How wonderful! Where I grew up there was a school for Japanese students and my friend's mom taught there so we did a lot of hosting. I also taught ESL to kids from Hong Kong and Japan and learned so much, too. I agree. People are people and we all have a common thread of human nature through us - the evidence is in our poetry and literature, isn't it?
    I left a response to your great comment on my blog, so go and read it, please.

  5. Funny! Although I know it's aggravating! Hey, at least it was something cute to post on a blog, right? :)

  6. lol :D hehe, mashaAllah! you don't want to know about finnish bureaucracy :D yet different but oh so annoying!

  7. Haha what a legendary post i loved it :)


Hey :D So am I talking to myself or...? Tell me what you think :D